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We're Working On It

My husband and I have been together for 4 years.  We don't have much of a sex life.  I was sexually and emotionally abused as a child, and am going through therapy and taking antidepressant medication, and sex is extremely painful physically.  Aside from that we have a wonderful relationship and love each other.  We are very affectionate, so it's not like we lack intimacy.  We snuggle and hold hands and kiss and flirt with each other.  I feel awful that I can't get it together and have sex, like I am screwed up and it's depriving him of something essential.  I've invited him to take a lover to make up for my inadequacies but he didn't want to.  Mentally, I desperately want to have sex with him, but emotionally and physically, it is really difficult.

When we first got together we were having a fair bit of sex.  Partly because of those new "love chemicals" raging around.  Also, because I would get drunk or take drugs to be able to have sex.  When he realized that I couldn't have sex without being out of it, he felt bad, and I think it was probably pretty unsexy.  He doesn't drink or do drugs at all, and his straight-edge nature has worn off on me over time.  Now that I don't do that stuff either, I don't have any way to dull the physical pain of sex or get my head out of that dark place.

Another dynamic at work is that once I am in a relationship with someone, I feel like I am expected to have sex with them, and that makes it feel like I have no choice, which triggers avoidance.  After being controlled my entire life, I instincively rebel against anything that I "have" to do.

I feel like I could have drunken sex with a complete stranger (note: I don't do that), but it's so hard to have sex with someone I love.  Sex feels like a predatory act that is completely separated from love.  Like using another human being as an object.  I am scared of men and scared when they are horny, because I feel like they can become monsters.  I recognize that this isn't fair to the entire gender, but that underlying fear is there. 

But like I said, we're working on it.  And I say "we", because even though it's my issue, he's part of it now that we're together.  Recovering from abuse and regaining trust is a long, painful process.  It takes a long time and it's a team effort.  I'm open and honest with my husband.  I have told him what my triggers are and tell him when he trips one.  He knows not to do certain things, like hug me when I'm naked and he's clothed.  He read a book called "Allies in Healing" for partners of people who have been sexually abused, and he's being supportive and patient.  He came with me to one of my therapy sessions so we could both express things and understand one another better.  I'm doing lots of therapy to try to re-integrate sex and love.  I've changed around my medication to something that isn't such a libido-killer.  It takes a long time, and often I despair that it'll never get better, but I just need to keep doing the work to heal and keep hope alive.

Good luck to the other survivors out there.  You are not alone.
snailosaur snailosaur 26-30, F 8 Responses Oct 24, 2010

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wish u best in ur life.<br />
You both can find a solution.<br />
I personaly don't agree on illegal n illogical relationship.

If he has not already found it himself, tell your husband to look up this website. That will do your marriage a lot of good.

I admire you on a lot of levels snailosaur.<br />
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That you have taken ownership of your life,<br />
That you have foregone the numbing effects of grog and drugs<br />
That you are having a red hot go at getting a handle on the issues that led you to the grog and drugs.<br />
That you can see that your well being has its impacts on others.<br />
That you want to embrace your marriage in every way.<br />
<br />
I've got no hints or solutions for you, you seem to be going along pretty well all by yourself with the hard work your journey of self improvement requires.<br />
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Again, I admire your tenacity in taking youself on as a client to better your life (it's the best gift you will ever give yourself). A side effect of this will be you enriching the lives of other people you interact with.<br />
<br />
Keep working.<br />
<br />
Tread your own path.

Wow! A lot going on here and I am sorry for your situation. But it appears that three quarters of the problem is being addressed: your realization of the problem and you BOTH working on it. Best of luck and Hope there is a happy outcome at the end of the rainbow.

Wow! A lot going on here and I am sorry for your situation. But it appears that three quarters of the problem is being addressed: your realization of the problem and you BOTH working on it. Best of luck and Hope there is a happy outcome at the end of the rainbow.

@ DukeLeto Yup...a bf in a previous long-term relationship pressured me a lot for more sex and it just made things worse. So many women have experienced sexual abuse and violence; feeling "forced" to have sex is really emotionally uncomfortable for us. <br />
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@ rosedl Thanks for the encouragement. A decade of therapy, a dozen antidepressants, and a truckload of self-help books later...sometimes I get discouraged. But it's important, so I'm going to keep working at it.<br />
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@ AGeminisTwin Have tried lots of antidepressants and many have been libido-killers, some that weren't just made me gain weight like a horse. Wellbutrin seems to be ok so far. And thanks for the corny sentiments :) I appreciate it.

I agree DukeLeto, ultimatums never work and tend to backfire in personal situations.<br />
<br />
Snail,<br />
Most Antidepressants are libido killers. Unfortunately, I know this from experience. So now I'm on one that isn't. I boldly asked my Pdoc for meds that will not do A, B and C. You sound like you're already being proactive, it just takes time...<br />
<br />
A married female friend never uses the term "husband." It triggers all sorts of things in her. So to this day, after 8 years of being married, she calls him her BF. He doesn't care...whatever works, eh? Find what works for you...but like I said, you seem to already be doing that.<br />
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Please be patient with YOU. At the risk of sounding corny, let "time, love and tenderness" heal you.

It sounds like you are doing everything you can to try and solve this and move forward. My hope is that you can overcome this for your own self and discover sex as a safe and pleasurable activity with someone you trust. <br />
<br />
I wish you the best...